Miles Fetherston-Resch plans to give away one million dollars before college.
It’s a lofty goal for someone just 7 years old. But if anyone can do it, it’s Miles.
Consider this. He launched Kids Saving Oceans in 2019 to raise money for beach conservation and marine wildlife protection. While many children his age are busy playing sports, learning music and creating art, Fetherston-Resch spends his time designing stickers, T-shirts, hats and magnets to sell through his online store. Proceeds advance the cause of preservation.
Fetherston-Resch works with several organizations to ensure his products use recycled materials and are environmentally sustainable.
“We send all the money we make to organizations that help protect the oceans,” Fetherston-Resch said.
Fetherston-Resch started Kids Saving Oceans after watching Shark Week and decided he wanted to do something to help marine wildlife. Living in St. Petersburg, Florida, Fetherston-Resch has a front-row seat to environmental issues impacting marine life. After sharing his idea with his mother, Fetherston-Resch started assembling his business.
“We work to support his vision as best we can,” Jess Fetherston-Resch said. “With a background in finance and a career working with data, launching an online retail store wasn’t in my comfort zone. We are learning a lot as we go.”
Fetherston-Resch and entrepreneurs like him are the types of dreamers St. Petersburg Greenhouse was created to serve. Greenhouse launched in 2013 as an effort between the City of St. Petersburg and the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce to support small-business owners across Pinellas County.
“Greenhouse is St. Pete’s front door to business growth to provide business owners and entrepreneurs education, resources, connections and assistance to thrive in the local economy,” said Greenhouse Coordinator Kim Vogel. “It has been shown time and time again that we are building our cities and towns across the country on small businesses. It made sense for our partnership to be a place where entrepreneurs and small-business owners can go to get started.”
Successful small businesses create a stronger economy and better communities for all of Tampa Bay.
Jim Donatelli, St. Petersburg-Clearwater Market Executive for Regions Bank
Greenhouse recently hosted its inaugural St. Pete Pitch Night to showcase, elevate and provide seed funding for community-based organizations. Twenty-eight organizations applied. Greenhouse selected the top five entrepreneurs who had an innovative concept, had been in business for four years or less and had previously presented at 1 Million Cups, a national program that provides resources for entrepreneurs.
Miles Fetherston-Resch was one of those five. He and the others had six minutes to pitch their organization and answer questions from judges.
One of those judges – Regions Bank Market Executive Jim Donatelli, a passionate advocate for the city and Pinellas County.
“There are great things happening, and new investments being made, every day in St. Pete. Greenhouse empowers local entrepreneurs and startups to benefit from this growth, too,” Donatelli said. “This is about investing in the people and organizations that are such a strong economic engine for our community. And as they succeed, we as a community succeed.”
By far the youngest presenter, Fetherston-Resch stood out with his passion, knowledge and long-term vision for Kids Saving Oceans. He received $5,000 from Regions through the Greenhouse initiative to keep growing his company.
“Miles delivered a strong business plan that can rival any other organization like his,” Donatelli said. “He presented a clear vision for his award and knew the fine details about what Kids Saving Oceans can and should do to be profitable. Whatever Miles decides to do in the long run in his career, he is going to be wildly successful. I hope he’ll continue to share that success with St. Pete.”
Regions works closely with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce to fuel opportunities for local companies. The University of South Florida-St. Pete is another valuable advocate.
“Successful small businesses create a stronger economy and better communities for all of Tampa Bay,” Donatelli added.
Regions and the University of South Florida-St. Pete were presenting sponsors of the inaugural St. Pete Pitch Night. The event was held on the campus of USF-St. Pete.
Miles’ mom, Jess, says the presentation of the big check was a boost of confidence that Kids Saving Oceans is on the right track. She also added that Miles has been proudly showing off the check to friends and family who come to his house for a visit. Photo courtesy of City of St. Pete.
Regions and a number of local entrepreneurs were panel judges for the event and used a rubric to evaluable the quality of pitches. Photo courtesy of City of St. Pete.
“We are grateful to Regions Bank, Greenhouse and the University of South Florida-St. Pete for this opportunity,” Jess Fetherston-Resch said. “The money is life-changing for Miles and Kids Saving Oceans, and we recognize it wouldn’t have happened without the generosity of Regions.”
Miles will invest the money he earned through the program back into his organization and expand the offerings of Kids Saving Oceans. He is adding an adult line of T-shirts and onesies for babies.
In its first year of operation, Kids Saving Oceans expects to donate more than $8,500 to 13 nonprofits. Through expansion, Fetherston-Resch plans to nearly triple his product volume and provide more organizations with funding in the coming years.
It’s a remarkable head start on reaching his long-term, million-dollar goal.
“Winning the St. Pete Pitch Night was really validating for Miles and a boost of confidence that he’s doing something special,” Jess Fetherston-Resch concluded.
Regions Bank Community Investment Priorities
In 2019, Regions announced three key priorities for community engagement. Sponsoring the St. Pete Pitch Night directly complements these priorities:
- Economic & Community Development:
- Supporting economic prosperity through:
- Affordable housing
- Job creation
- Small-business development
- Homebuyer education & retention
- Neighborhood revitalization & stabilization
- Education & Workforce Readiness:
- Supporting career prosperity through:
- Student competency and skill building
- College preparation and success
- Educational access and attainment
- Career readiness and credential building
- Teacher training and development
- Financial Wellness:
- Supporting financial prosperity through:
- Financial education to youth, adults and vulnerable populations
- Financial planning tools and resources, including Regions Next Step
- Integrated asset-building
Additional information is available here.